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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dates For Legal Clinic 7pm room 265

Dates for 2016 legal clinic Jan 7,21 Feb 4,18 March 3,17,31 April 14,28 May 12,26 June 9,23 July 7,21 August 4,18 Sept 1,15,29 October 13,27 November 10 December 8,22 2017 January 5,19

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Adoption case from Utah Mother puts up for adoption

Dad files $130M lawsuit after son in Utah is given up for adoption Tuesday Dec 31, 2013 12:24 PM EMAIL Jake Strickland Jake Strickland prepared for the birth of his son in December 2010, showing off a stroller that was bought for the boy. BY ERIK ORTIZ, STAFF WRITER, NBC NEWS A dad whose newborn son was given up for adoption by the birth mother — without his knowledge — is seeking $130 million in a lawsuit testing the boundaries of a biological father’s rights in Utah. The adoption of Jake Strickland’s son just after he was born Dec. 29, 2010, was illegal and done “through gross misdirection and … clandestine conduct,” claims the suit filed Friday in the U.S. District Court of Utah. Strickland alleges the mother, Whitney Pettersson, conspired with the adoptive parents, the adoption agency and attorneys to give up the boy — named “Baby Jack” in the suit — without allowing him to seek custody. The complaint also strikes at Utah's parenting laws, accusing them of being “pro-adoption and anti-birth father.” Attorney Wes Hutchins, speaking on behalf of Strickland, said his client just missed his son’s third birthday on Sunday — and is devastated that he can’t share important milestones in the boy’s life. “It’s pulling him apart,” Hutchins told NBC News on Tuesday. On his son's birthday, Strickland and his family gathered around a candle to sing “Happy Birthday” to his absent son, Hutchins said. “They still think about him even though they don't have contact,” he added. Strickland and Pettersson first met in 2009 as co-workers at a restaurant, according to court documents. Strickland said Pettersson was having problems with her marriage, and she later told him she got divorced. They began dating, and three months later, she texted him that she was pregnant. Strickland left Utah for a temp job in Texas, but said he assured Pettersson that he wanted to be present in their child’s life, according to the lawsuit. He started a fund for the baby boy. The couple came up with a name: Jack. Jake Strickland A nursery that was set up in 2010 for Jake Strickland's baby, whom he named Jack. But after Strickland returned to Utah, the romance dissolved. They began discussing parenting options. He said he told Pettersson that he would consider signing up with Utah’s putative father registry, which is how unmarried men can document with the state that they want parental rights. But Strickland didn’t register. According to Hutchins, Pettersson warned him that if he did, she “would view it as an act of distrust” and keep his child from him. “I don’t know if it was done as an act of vindictiveness,” Hutchins said. Pettersson couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, and attorneys involved in the adoption weren’t immediately available. The adoption agency, LDS Family Services, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also didn’t respond to a request for comment. According to the lawsuit, Strickland continued to financially support Pettersson, who also had a child from another relationship, until her alleged lies about their son began to unravel. On Jan. 5, 2011, Strickland said he was astonished to learn that Pettersson had given birth a week earlier — unbeknownst to him. He also learned she was still legally married, which meant her estranged husband was the presumed father under state law. The most devastating discovery, Strickland said in the lawsuit, was that Pettersson had already given up their child for adoption. She even got her then-husband to agree to the adoption by telling him that he would be the one saddled with child support payments if she kept the boy, according to Hutchins. Strickland, who now lives in Arizona, mounted a paternity claim. But his fight was complicated because he had never registered with the state for his paternal rights. Despite contesting the adoption, Strickland learned in November 2011 that it was completed. After a 2nd U.S. District judge shot down Strickland’s bid to gain custody, he filed an appeal to the state. His case is still under review. Concurrently, Strickland’s federal lawsuit is seeking $30 million for the loss of the parent-child relationship caused by the adoption and $100 million as a deterrent to ensure another dad doesn't suffer his fate. Hutchins said Utah’s laws are onerous on biological fathers who try to gain custody, noting that they must file a paternity petition, get a sworn affidavit, create a detailed child care plan and prove they were financially invested in the pregnancy, among other requirements. Strickland’s custody case, meanwhile, isn’t the only one gaining attention in Utah. In another high-profile petition, Colorado dad Robert Manzanares is fighting for sole custody of his daughter, whom he claims was unfairly given up by her birth mother when the woman fled to Utah. Utah State Sen. Todd Weiler told NBC affiliate KSL-TV that despite the increased interest in the issue, he’s not persuaded that Utah laws need to be dramatically overhauled. “What we’re looking at in this lawsuit and a few other high-profile lawsuits are one or two bad examples out of 10,000,” Weiler said. “I don’t think it’s good policy for the state to look at one or two exceptions and say, ‘Let’s change the laws for everyone.’”

Monday, February 2, 2015

No Major Bills Affecting Fathers Pending in Richmond, But CS Review Panel Has Yet to Address CS `Cliff Effect' The Virginia General Assembly (legislature) convened January 14 for what is expected to be a short legislative session (45 days). So far legislators appear unlikely to adopt any domestic relations bills that would have a major impact on fathers. Unlike previous legislative sessions, no presumptive joint custody bills are on the agenda for the 2015 session. Likely to be of more interest to fathers during 2015 is what goes on in the Child Support Guidelines Review Panel. At the end of 2013 the panel issued an interim report that ultimately resulted in 2014 legislation increasing child support. Currently, according to the panel's website, no meetings are yet scheduled for 2015. However, at least one issue of crucial importance to fathers, the so-called "cliff effect' feature of the CS guideline, remains to be addressed by the panel. The cliff effect stipulates that the amount of CS payable is unaffected by the amount of time that children spend with the non-custodial parent (nearly always the father) until they are with him for more than 90 days each year. The cliff effect restricts fathers' visitation time with their children, because custodial parents are unlikely to agree to visitation periods that would reduce the amount of child support they receive from the non-custodial parent. Fathers' representatives maintain that this 90-day threshold is outdated, since computerized programs have now greatly simplified the calculation of CS, and have made obsolete earlier objections to a sliding scale method. The purpose of the cliff effect was supposed to be to keep CS calculations from becoming too complex, as supposedly they would be if CS amounts were precisely related to the amount time spend with each parent. Domestic Relations Bills in General Assembly A full list of the domestic relations bills introduced in the General Assembly is available at The following are official summaries of the domestic relations bills that, if enacted, seem likely to affect fathers: * HB 1549 Revocation of concealed handgun permit; delinquency in child support payments. Provides for the revocation of an individual's concealed handgun permit if such individual (i) has failed to comply with a subpoena, summons, or warrant relating to paternity or child support proceedings or (ii) is delinquent in the payment of child support by 90 days or more or in an amount of $5,000 or more. If the obligor remedies the delinquency, reaches an agreement with the obligee or Department of Social Services to remedy the delinquency, or complies with the subpoena, summons, or warrant, he may reapply for a concealed weapons permit. * HB 1601 Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. Amends the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) to comply with amendments to the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance that were adopted in 2008. The amendments modify the current version of UIFSA's international provisions to comport with the obligations of the United States under the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. The bill contains an emergency clause. * HB 1602 Proration of child support. Directs the Department of Social Services, upon receiving child support payments pursuant to one or more judicial or administrative orders, to prorate payments on the basis of amounts due for current support and, upon satisfaction of all amounts due for current support, prorate the remainder on the basis of amounts due for accrued arrearages. The bill directs the Department to allocate payments received pursuant to federal tax refund offset pursuant to subsection h of 45 C.F.R. 303.72. * HB 2034 Temporary delegation of parental or legal custodial powers; child-placing agency. Allows a parent or legal custodian of a minor to delegate to another person by a properly executed power of attorney any powers regarding care, custody, or property of the minor for a period not exceeding one year. The bill also exempts from the requirement to obtain a license as a child-placing agency a private, nonprofit organization that does not accept public funds and that assists parents with the process of delegating parental and legal custody of their children, including assistance with identifying appropriate placements for their children, or that provides services and resources to support parents and legal guardians to whom custody has been transferred pursuant to a temporary delegation of parental or legal custodial powers. * HB 2105 Denial of spousal support to spouses convicted of certain violations. Provides that a court shall not award spousal support to a spouse if such spouse was convicted of any violation of Article 4 (Assaults and Bodily Woundings) or Article 7 (Criminal Sexual Assault) of Chapter 4 of Article 18.2, provided that (i) such violation was against the spouse from whom support is being sought and (ii) the conviction occurred within the five-year period immediately preceding the filing of the petition for divorce or at any time thereafter, unless the spouse seeking support proves by a preponderance of the evidence that a denial of support would be unconscionable. * HB 2190 Child support; incarcerated obligor. Provides that a court shall recalculate the child support obligation of an obligor who is incarcerated during the support period, the recalculation being retroactive to the date of incarceration. The bill also provides that prisoners are exempt from various fees and costs that may be collected by the Department of Social Services in enforcing support obligations. The bill further provides that reductions in the child support arrearages owed by prisoners be granted for timely payments of support * SB 788 Public assistance; changes in custody. Requires any circuit or district court entering an order changing or establishing custody to forward a copy of the order to the local board of social services in the city or county in which any person receiving public assistance on behalf of the child resides. The bill also directs local boards of social services to reconsider public assistance grants upon receipt of such orders and, upon any change or withdrawal of public assistance, notify the new custodial parent of his potential eligibility for such assistance. * SB 913 Filing fees; motions to modify custody or visitation orders. Provides for a $25 filing fee for a petition for the modification of a custody or visitation order filed in the juvenile and domestic relations district court. * SB 923 Child support for disabled child over the age of 18 (Conner's Law). Provides that a court may order child support for any child over the age of 18 who is severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled if such disability existed prior to the child reaching the age of 18 or the age of 19 if the child was a full-time high school student, not self-supporting, and was living in the home of the parent seeking child support. Current requirements that the child also be unable to live independently, unable to support himself, and reside in the home of the parent seeking child support remain unchanged. * SB 957 Child support for disabled child over the age of 18 (Conner's Law). Provides that a court may order child support for any child over the age of 18 who is severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled if such disability existed prior to the child reaching the age of 18 or the age of 19 if the child was a full-time high school student, not self-supporting, and was living in the home of the parent seeking child support. Current requirements that the child also be unable to live independently, unable to support himself, and reside in the home of the parent seeking child support remain unchanged. * SB 1180 Custody and visitation agreements; best interests of the child. Requires the court to consider any history of abuse of persons other than family members when determining the best interests of the child for the purposes of custody and visitation arrangements. The bill removes the requirement that in order for a court, on the basis of certain offenses, to enjoin a parent from filing a custody or visitation petition, the victim of the offense must have been his child, a child with whom he resided at the time, or the other parent of the child. Kenneth H. Skilling January 23, 2015